Bexley News

Pilot for Recreation & Parks

Program would pay OT, offer incentives to staff

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Bexley City Council is considering legislation that would compensate Recreation and Parks Department employees for working overtime to cover programming and special events and offer incentives for increasing the department's revenue.

Councilwoman Lori Ann Feibel, who chairs the Recreation and Parks Committee, said she planned to introduce legislation at council's April 8 meeting that would create a pilot program to offer financial incentives to department employees.

"The incentive program is an administrative tool designed to help to keep the department's revenue as close to the department's expense as possible, with the ultimate goal of getting to a $0 expense over revenue," the legislation states.

The incentives would take the form of an annual payout that Recreation and Parks Department employees would share, based on how much revenue the department generates for the year. The payout would be structured as follows:

Employees would share a $12,500 payout if the department's expenses were $150,000 over revenue for the year; a $13,750 payout for $125,000 in expenses over revenue; a $15,000 payout for $100,000 in expenses over revenue; a $16,250 payout for $75,000 in expenses over revenue; a $17,500 payout for $50,000 in expenses over revenue; and a $25,000 payout for no expenses over revenue.

Recreation supervisors would receive 22.22 percent of the annual payout and the recreation administrative assistant would receive 11.11 percent of the payout. The director of the department would not share in the payout.

The concept behind the incentive program is to reward department employees for the efforts they've made in recent years to increase revenue and decrease expenses, Feibel said.

For example, the department's expenses were over revenue by $438,000 in 2007. In 2013, the department's expenses were over revenue by $96,000, according to the legislation.

Council members have previously discussed how to compensate Recreation and Parks employees not only for increasing revenue, but for working overtime at regularly scheduled programs and special events such as the annual Fourth of July celebration.

"Recreation supervisors are overtime-exempt, which is an unusual condition relative to other positions in the city, and yet they have continuously expanded additional effort and time in order to meet the goals of the department and the city administration," the legislation states.

Recreation Director Michael Price said the department has been able to increase revenue without offering fewer programs.

"We've been able to do it without cutting services to the community," he said.

Feibel said council members have expressed support for providing financial incentives to Recreation and Parks employees when the discussion has previously arisen, such as at council's March 3 retreat at Jeffrey Mansion. But council members have also expressed concerns about what form the incentives should take.

"I know every member of council values this department," she said. "It's just how we best do it fiscally for the city."

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